The Tudor Roses

The Tudor Roses

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The Anne Boleyn Papers By Elizabeth Norton


So people will be thinking here is another book on Anne Boleyn, do we need it and the answer to this is yes we do! This is not a biography about her but letters and papers that are related to Anne, both from her own hand and the hand of others around her.

This book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Anne Boleyn, but a must for those doing research. It is convenient to have the letters, papers and other sources all in one place; I do not know about anyone one else but there has been times when I was drowning in paper before this book came out but now I just keep the book beside me on my desk or by where I am working from. The book has also been done in order according to date of the source which is also very handy when looking up that piece of information you need. The source material is segregated into the key periods in Anne's life, be it information relating to her early life and education at the Mechelen and French courts, through to her advent at the English court and as Henry's "queen in waiting", to her eventual accession as queen consort thus ending with her downfall and death.


Elizabeth Norton's introductions are excellent at the beginning of each letter, document, account etc. Norton includes a short summary of why the letter was written, whom it was written by, when it was written etc. This gives the reader the ability to jump from one chapter to another. Also the poems referred to in historical novels are in this book and although they took some understanding in some instances it is not an issue. I found this to be a highly refreshing way of presenting contemporary source information about Anne in a compelling and impartial manner.


Elizabeth Norton in the introduction states that "it would be impossible to include all the surviving information in one volume". Norton, with precise fashion, has arranged a wonderful account of Anne's life through its collection of papers.


Like many of you I have read several books on Anne Boleyn but this is the first book I have read that in its entirety is an account of her life through letters, memoirs, and poems. Most of the documents were written by historical "contemporaries" of her period, those who knew her personally and many who hated her with a vengeance. When reading what eyewitnesses stated about her - even if some of them were a bit slanted to one side, reading what Anne wrote in letters to Henry or a friend; I feel this book breathed a life into Anne and helps bring the real Anne forward and not the one that we see in films and on TV. I think this book has been long needed and I just wish there were other books like this looking at others in the Tudor court!


There are some stunning photographs and images in the book and these images are not just of Anne but also of other people in her life, places that she lived and also images of the actual letters Anne wrote.


As I said this book is a must for Anne fans but it is also for anyone with an interest in the Tudor period as it is an invaluable resource. For me this book is up there in my top books to have close to hand.



Cover of The Anne Boleyn Papers By Elizabeth Norton

To buy see links below

Review By Emma


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